organization:civil administration

  • Israel to auction prefab classrooms donated by EU to Palestinians | World news
    Oliver Holmes in Jerusalem - Fri 31 May 2019 06.00 BST - The Guardian

    Israel’s defence ministry plans to hold an auction next week to sell two prefabricated classrooms that were donated to Palestinian schoolchildren by the EU.

    The Civil Administration, the body tasked with running the occupation, tore down and confiscated the classrooms last October. They had been intended for 49 students, in grades one to six, in Ibziq, in the northern occupied West Bank.

    An advertisement published in the Israeli newspaper Maariv said the sale would take place at Civil Administration offices in the West Bank.

    After the classrooms were dismantled, the EU mission to Jerusalem and Ramallah condemned Israeli authorities and called on them to rebuild the structures in the same place “without delay”.


  • How the Israeli army takes Palestinian land and hands it to settlers -

    45 settlements have been built on Palestinian land requisitioned for military purposes. A new study explains how
    Amira Hass

    In the end, the result is the same: More Palestinian land stolen and transferred to Jews because they are Jews (born in Israel or the Diaspora) and for their benefit. But the Jewish brain invents tricks of the trade, and the means and methods that the military bureaucracy has created and is still creating to reach this result are many and varied, until confusion and fear take over at the sheer multitude of details.

    Dror Etkes, a researcher of Israel’s settlement policy, wants, as usual, to put things in order. In a new study he will be publishing this week, he focuses on the history of orders to seize Palestinian land, issued by generations of army commanders in the West Bank (not including the part that was annexed to Jerusalem). More than 1,150 seizure orders have been issued from 1969 to the present. After subtracting those that were revoked or that overlap, it turns out that this particular trick enabled Israel to take over more than 100,000 dunams (25,000 acres) of Palestinian land. More millions of dunams of Palestinian land have been stolen in other ways, which Etkes has been researching too.

    The declared purpose for such seizure is security and military needs. On the website of the Military Advocate General, the body that advises the army on legal issues, this goal is stressed. Etkes quotes at length from this source in his study: In accordance with the laws of belligerent occupation detailed in customary international law, an occupying power is prohibited from confiscating the private property of a local population in an area under its belligerent occupation. [But] the commander of the area has the authority to take possession of private land if there is a military need. … Exercising this authority does not invalidate landowners’ rights of possession, although they are temporarily prevented from holding and using the land. ... The word temporary is used, because the occupation is meant to be temporary, and because military needs may change.

    Surprise surprise. Some 40 percent of the area officially seized for military and security needs have been allocated over the years to settlements (a quarter of the total area is indeed used for military purposes and another quarter is occupied by the separation barrier). The governments of the Alignment, the Labor Party’s predecessor, started this tradition. They allocated 6,280 dunams to settlements – 28 percent of the approximately 22,000 dunams that have been seized for military use in those years. As expected, the rise of Likud to power has seen a huge spike in allocation to settlements of land that was originally seized for military use. From Likud’s victory in May 1977 to the end of 1979, more than 31,000 dunams were seized. Out of this total, 23,000 were allocated to settlements – that is, 73 percent.

    If we thought this method was quashed by the High Court of Justice ruling in the case of the settlement of Elon Moreh – which was handed down in October 1979 and placed restrictions on the authority of an Israeli military commander in the West Bank to seize land for settlement construction – it turns out we were wrong. Because for three years, commanders continued under Likud to issue seizure orders for security needs that benefited the settlements: Out of some 11,000 dunams seized, 7,040 dunams were given to 12 new settlements. (The dates on some of the orders are unclear; therefore they are not included in the breakdown above that Etkes produced at Haaretz’s request. But the goal of those orders, too, is clear: settlement. And they apply to areas amounting to about 2,000 dunams).

    Following the High Court ruling on Elon Moreh, Israel found a surer method of robbery: declaring Palestinian land to be state land (that is, for Jews), in a very lenient interpretation of an Ottoman law on the matter. The raw material from Etkes’ research is digital maps and layers of data given to him by the Civil Administration (through gritted teeth) by dint of the Freedom of Information Law. According to this information, Etkes estimates that since the 1980s, Israel has declared some 750,000 dunams as state land, out of approximately 5.7 million dunams in the West Bank. (Reminder: This column does not recognize the legality of the Israeli definition of Palestinian land as state land, and even less the legality of their transfer to Jews).

  • For six months, these Palestinian villages had running water. Israel put a stop to it
    For six months, Palestinian villagers living on West Bank land that Israel deems a closed firing range saw their dream of running water come true. Then the Civil Administration put an end to it

    Amira Hass Feb 22, 2019 3:25 PM

    The dream that came true, in the form of a two-inch water line, was too good to be true. For about six months, 12 Palestinian West Bank villages in the South Hebron Hills enjoyed clean running water. That was until February 13, when staff from the Israeli Civil Administration, accompanied by soldiers and Border Police and a couple of bulldozers, arrived.

    The troops dug up the pipes, cut and sawed them apart and watched the jets of water that spurted out. About 350 cubic meters of water were wasted. Of a 20 kilometer long (12 mile) network, the Civil Administration confiscated remnants and sections of a total of about 6 kilometers of piping. They loaded them on four garbage trucks emblazoned with the name of the Tel Aviv suburb of Ramat Gan on them.

    The demolition work lasted six and a half hours. Construction of the water line network had taken about four months. It had been a clear act of civil rebellion in the spirit of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King against one of the most brutal bans that Israel imposes on Palestinian communities in Area C, the portion of the West Bank under full Israeli control. It bars Palestinians from hooking into existing water infrastructure.

    The residential caves in the Masafer Yatta village region south of Hebron and the ancient cisterns used for collecting rainwater confirm the local residents’ claim that their villages have existed for decades, long before the founding of the State of Israel. In the 1970s, Israel declared some 30,000 dunams (7,500 acres) in the area Firing Range 918.

    In 1999, under the auspices of the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, the army expelled the residents of the villages and demolished their structures and water cisterns. The government claimed that the residents were trespassing on the firing range, even though these were their lands and they have lived in the area long before the West Bank was captured by Israel.

    When the matter was brought to the High Court of Justice, the court approved a partial return to the villages but did not allow construction or hookups to utility infrastructure. Mediation attempts failed, because the state was demanding that the residents leave their villages and live in the West Bank town of Yatta and come to graze their flocks and work their land only on a few specific days per year.

    But the residents continued to live in their homes, risking military raids and demolition action — including the demolition of public facilities such as schools, medical clinics and even toilets. They give up a lot to maintain their way of life as shepherds, but could not forgo water.

    “The rainy season has grown much shorter in recent years, to only about 45 days a year,” explained Nidal Younes, the chairman of the Masafer Yatta council of villages. “In the past, we didn’t immediately fill the cisterns with rainwater, allowing them to be washed and cleaned first. Since the amount of rain has decreased, people stored water right away. It turns out the dirty water harmed the sheep and the people.”

    Because the number of residents has increased, even in years with abundant rain, at a certain stage the cisterns ran dry and the shepherds would bring in water by tractor. They would haul a 4 cubic meter (140 square foot) tank along the area’s narrow, poor roads — which Israel does not permit to have widened and paved. “The water has become every family’s largest expense,” Younes said.

    In the village of Halawa, he pointed out Abu Ziyad, a man of about 60. “I always see him on a tractor, bringing in water or setting out to bring back water.”

    Sometimes the tractors overturn and drivers are injured. Tires quickly wear out and precious work days go to waste. “We are drowning in debt to pay for the transportation of water,” Abu Ziyad said.

    In 2017, the Civil Administration and the Israeli army closed and demolished the roads to the villages, which the council had earlier managed to widen and rebuild. That had been done to make it easier to haul water in particular, but also more generally to give the villages better access.

    The right-wing Regavim non-profit group “exposed” the great crime committed in upgrading the roads and pressured the Civil Administration and the army to rip them up. “The residents’ suffering increased,” Younes remarked. “We asked ourselves how to solve the water problem.”

    The not very surprising solution was installing pipes to carry the water from the main water line in the village of Al-Tuwani, through privately owned lands of the other villages. “I checked it out, looking to see if there was any ban on laying water lines on private land and couldn’t find one,” Younes said.

    Work done by volunteers

    The plumbing work was done by volunteers, mostly at night and without heavy machinery, almost with their bare hands. Ali Debabseh, 77, of the village of Khalet al-Daba, recalled the moment when he opened the spigot installed near his home and washed his face with running water. “I wanted to jump for joy. I was as happy as a groom before his wedding.”

    Umm Fadi of the village of Halawa also resorted to the word “joy” in describing the six months when she had a faucet near the small shack in which she lives. “The water was clean, not brown from rust or dust. I didn’t need to go as far as the cistern to draw water, didn’t need to measure every drop.”

    Now it’s more difficult to again get used to being dependent on water dispensed from tanks.

    The piping and connections and water meters were bought with a 100,000 euro ($113,000) European donation. Instead of paying 40 shekels ($11) per cubic meter for water brought in with water tanks, the residents paid only about 6 shekels for the same amount of running water. Suddenly they not only saved money, but also had more precious time.

    The water lines also could have saved European taxpayers money. A European project to help the residents remain in their homes had been up and running since 2011, providing annual funding of 120,000 euros to cover the cost of buying and transporting drinking water during the three summer months for the residents (but not their livestock).

    The cost was based on a calculation involving consumption of 750 liters per person a month, far below the World Health Organization’s recommended quantity. There are between 1,500 and 2,000 residents. The project made things much easier for such a poor community, which continued to pay out of its own pocket for the water for some 40,000 sheep and for the residents’ drinking water during the remainder of the year. Now that the Civil Administration has demolished the water lines, the European donor countries may be forced to once again pay for the high price of transporting water during the summer months, at seven times the cost.

    For its part, the Civil Administration issued a statement noting that the area is a closed military zone. “On February 13,” the statement said, “enforcement action was taken against water infrastructure that was connected to illegal structures in this area and that were built without the required permits.”

    Ismail Bahis should have been sorry that the pipes were laid last year. He and his brothers, residents of Yatta, own water tankers and were the main water suppliers to the Masafer Yatta villages. Through a system of coupons purchased with the European donation, they received 800 shekels for every shipment of 20 cubic meters of water. But Bahis said he was happy he had lost out on the work.

    “The roads to the villages of Masafer Yatta are rough and dangerous, particularly after the army closed them,” he said. “Every trip of a few kilometers took at least three and a half hours. Once I tipped over with the tanker. Another time the army confiscated my brother’s truck, claiming it was a closed military zone. We got the truck released three weeks later in return for 5,000 shekels. We always had other additional expenses replacing tires and other repairs for the truck.

    Nidal Younes recounted that the council signed a contract with another water carrier to meet the demand. But that supplier quit after three weeks. He wouldn’t agree to drive on the poor and dangerous roads.

    On February 13, Younes heard the large group of forces sent by the Civil Administration beginning to demolish the water lines near the village of Al-Fakhit. He rushed to the scene and began arguing with the soldiers and Civil Administration staff.

    Border Police arrests

    Border Police officers arrested him, handcuffed him and put him in a jeep. His colleague, the head of the Al-Tuwani council, Mohammed al-Raba’i, also approached those carrying out the demolition work to protest. “But they arrested me after I said two words. At least Nidal managed to say a lot,” he said with a smile that concealed sadness.

    Two teams carried out the demolition work, one proceeding toward the village of Jinbah, to the southeast, the second advanced in the direction of Al-Tuwani, to the northwest. They also demolished the access road leading to the village of Sha’ab al-Butum, so that even if Bahis wanted to transport water again, he would have had to make a large detour to do so.

    Younes was shocked to spot a man named Marco among the team carrying out the demolition. “I remembered him from when I was a child, from the 1980s when he was an inspector for the Civil Administration. In 1985, he supervised the demolition of houses in our village, Jinbah — twice, during Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr [marking the end of the Ramadan holy month],” he said.

    “They knew him very well in all the villages in the area because he attended all the demolitions. The name Marco was a synonym for an evil spirit. Our parents who saw him demolish their homes, have died. He disappeared, and suddenly he has reappeared,” Younes remarked.

    Marco is Marco Ben-Shabbat, who has lead the Civil Administration’s supervision unit for the past 10 years. Speaking to a reporter from the Israel Hayom daily who accompanied the forces carrying out the demolition work, Ben-Shabbat said: “The [water line] project was not carried out by the individual village. The Palestinian Authority definitely put a project manager here and invested a lot of money.”

    More precisely, it was European governments that did so.

    From all of the villages where the Civil Administration destroyed water lines, the Jewish outposts of Mitzpeh Yair and Avigayil can be seen on the hilltops. Although they are unauthorized and illegal even according to lenient Israeli settlement laws, the outposts were connected almost immediately to water and electricity grids and paved roads lead to them.

    “I asked why they demolished the water lines,” Nidal Younes recalled. He said one of the Border Police officers answered him, in English, telling him it was done “to replace Arabs with Jews.”


    • Under Israeli Occupation, Water Is a Luxury

      Of all the methods Israel uses to expel Palestinians from their land, the deprivation of water is the most cruel. And so the Palestinians are forced to buy water that Israel stole from them
      Amira Hass
      Feb 24, 2019 9:45 PM

      Water pipes cut by the Israeli military in the village of Khalet al-Daba, February 17, 2019. Eliyahu Hershkovitz

      When I wrote my questions and asked the spokesperson’s office of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories to explain the destruction of the water pipelines in the Palestinian villages southeast of Yatta, on February 13, my fingers started itching wanting to type the following question: “Tell me, aren’t you ashamed?” You may interpret it as a didactic urge, you can see it as a vestige of faith in the possibility of exerting an influence, or a crumb of hope that there’s somebody there who doesn’t automatically carry out orders and will feel a niggling doubt. But the itching in my fingers disappeared quickly.

      This is not the first time that I’m repressing my didactic urge to ask the representatives of the destroyers, and the deprivers of water, if they aren’t ashamed. After all, every day our forces carry out some brutal act of demolition or prevent construction or assist the settlers who are permeated with a sense of racial superiority, to expel shepherds and farmers from their land. The vast majority of these acts of destruction and expulsion are not reported in the Israeli media. After all, writing about them would require the hiring of another two full-time reporters.

      These acts are carried out in the name of every Israeli citizen, who also pays the taxes to fund the salaries of the officials and the army officers and the demolition contractors. When I write about one small sampling from among the many acts of destruction, I have every right as a citizen and a journalist to ask those who hand down the orders, and those who carry them out: “Tell me, can you look at yourself in the mirror?”

      But I don’t ask. Because we know the answer: They’re pleased with what they see in the mirror. Shame has disappeared from our lives. Here’s another axiom that has come down to us from Mount Sinai: The Jews have a right to water, wherever they are. Not the Palestinians. If they insist on living outside the enclaves we assigned to them in Area A, outside the crowded reservations (the city of Yatta, for example), let them bear the responsibility of becoming accustomed to living without water. It’s impossible without water? You don’t say. Then please, let the Palestinians pay for water that is carried in containers, seven times the cost of the water in the faucet.

      It’s none of our business that most of the income of these impoverished communities is spent on water. It’s none of our business that water delivery is dangerous because of the poor roads. It’s none of our business that the Israel Defense Forces and the Civil Administration dig pits in them and pile up rocks – so that it will be truly impossible to use them to transport water for about 1,500 to 2,000 people, and another 40,000 sheep and goats. What do we care that only one road remains, a long detour that makes delivery even more expensive? After all, it’s written in the Torah: What’s good for us, we’ll deny to others.

      I confess: The fact that the pyramid that carries out the policy of depriving the Palestinians of water is now headed by a Druze (Brig. Gen. Kamil Abu Rokon, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories) made the itching in my fingers last longer. Maybe because when Abu Rokon approaches the faucet, he thinks the word “thirsty” in the same language used by the elderly Ali Dababseh from the village of Khalet al-Daba to describe life with a dry spigot and waiting for the tractor that will bring water in a container. Or because Abu Rokon first learned from his mother how to say in Arabic that he wants to drink.

      Water towers used by villages due to lack of running water in their homes. Eliyahu Hershkovitz

      But that longer itching is irrational, at least based on the test of reality. The Civil Administration and COGAT are filled with Druze soldiers and officers whose mother tongue is Arabic. They carry out the orders to implement Israel’s settler colonial policy, to expel Palestinians and to take over as much land as possible for Jews, with the same unhesitant efficiency as their colleagues whose mother tongue is Hebrew, Russian or Spanish.

      Of all the Israeli methods of removing Palestinians from their land in order to allocate it to Jews from Israel and the Diaspora, the policy of water deprivation is the cruelest. And these are the main points of this policy: Israel does not recognize the right of all the human beings living under its control to equal access to water and to quantities of water. On the contrary. It believes in the right of the Jews as lords and masters to far greater quantities of water than the Palestinians. It controls the water sources everywhere in the country, including in the West Bank. It carries out drilling in the West Bank and draws water in the occupied territory, and transfers most of it to Israel and the settlements.

      The Palestinians have wells from the Jordanian period, some of which have already dried up, and several new ones from the past 20 years, not as deep as the Israeli ones, and together they don’t yield sufficient quantities of water. The Palestinians are therefore forced to buy from Israel water that Israel is stealing from them.

      Because Israel has full administrative control over 60 percent of the area of the West Bank (among other things it decides on the master plans and approves construction permits), it also forbids the Palestinians who live there to link up to the water infrastructure. The reason for the prohibition: They have no master plan. Or that’s a firing zone. And of course firing zones were declared on Mount Sinai, and an absence of a master plan for the Palestinian is not a deliberate human omission but the act of God.

    • Pendant six mois, ces villages palestiniens ont eu de l’eau courante. Israël y a mis fin
      25 février | Amira Hass pour Haaretz |Traduction SF pour l’AURDIP

      Pendant six mois, des villageois palestiniens vivant en Cisjordanie sur une terre qu’Israël considère comme une zone de feu fermée, ont vu leur rêve d’eau courante devenir réalité. Puis l’administration civile y a mis fin.

  • The sadists who destroyed a decades-old Palestinian olive grove can rest easy
    Another Palestinian village joins the popular protest, its inhabitants no longer able to bear attacks by settlers. Vandals have butchered a grove of 35-year-old olive trees in the village. The tracks led to a nearby settler outpost
    Gideon Levy and Alex Levac Jan 24, 2019

    Vandalism in an olive grove in the West Bank village of Al-Mughayyir. Credit Alex Levac

    Who are the human scum who last Friday drove all-terrain vehicles down to the magnificent olive grove owned by Abed al Hai Na’asan, in the West Bank village of Al-Mughayyir, chose the oldest and biggest row, and with electric saws felled 25 trees, one after another? Who are the human scum who are capable of fomenting such an outrage on the soil, the earth, the trees and of course on the farmer, who’s been working his land for decades? Who are the human scum who fled like cowards, knowing that no one would bring them to justice for the evil they had wrought?

    We’re unlikely ever to get the answers. The police are investigating, but at the wild outposts of the Shiloh Valley, and Mevo Shiloh in particular, where the perpetrators’ tracks led, they can go on sleeping in peace. No one will be arrested, no one will be interrogated, no one will be punished. That’s the lesson of past experience in this violent, lawless, settlers’ country.

    The story itself makes one’s blood boil, but only the sight of the violated grove brings home the scale of the atrocity, the pathological sadism of the perpetrators, the depth of the farmer’s pain upon seeing that his own God’s little acre was assaulted by the Jewish, Israeli, settlers, believers, destroyers – just three days before Tu B’Shvat, the Jewish Arbor Day, the holiday of the trees celebrated by the same people who destroyed his grove. This is how they express their love for the land, this is a reflection of the encroacher’s fondness for the earth and for nature.

    And on a boulder at the far end of the grove they left their calling card, smeared on a rock: a Star of David smeared in red, shamefaced, shameful, a Mark of Cain that stigmatizes everything it stands for, and next to it, the word “Revenge.” Revenge for what?

    The 25 felled trees lie like corpses after a massacre on the fertile brown, plowed earth. Twenty-five thick trunks stand bare and decapitated, their roots still deep in the earth, their tops gone, the work of a malicious hand – now mere dead lumber after years of having been tended, cultivated and irrigated. It was the most impressive row of trees in the grove; the destroyers moved along it with satanic deliberateness, sawing mercilessly. When, walking amid the stumps in the grove, the distraught owner Na’asan said that for him the act was tantamount to murder, his words made perfect sense. When we were just arriving there, his wife had phoned and begged him not to visit the grove, for fear he would not be able to abide the sight. Na’asan has cancer.

    In the briefcase of documents he always carries with him is a copy of the official complaint he submitted to the Binyamin district station of the Israel Police, despite the fact that he knows nothing will ever come of it, that it will be buried like every such complaint. Anyone who wanted to apprehend the rampagers could have done it that same day: Mevo Shiloh, where the tracks of the all-terrain vehicles led, is a small settler outpost – violent and brazen.

    The way to Al-Mughayyir, located south of Jenin, passes through the affluent town of Turmus Ayya, many of whose residents live most of the year in the United States, only visiting their splendid homes in the summer. The village, with a population of 3,500, is separated from the town by pasture land where sheep are now grazing. Everything is lushly green.

    Abed al Hai Na’asan, with a butchered olive tree. The people of Al-Mughayyir say their problems have never been with the army, only with the settlers. Credit : Alex Levac

    In the center of Al-Mughayyir, a few men are standing next to an official vehicle of the Palestinian Authority. Personnel from the Palestinian Ministry of Agriculture have arrived to assess the damage suffered by the farmers; at best the ministry gives them a symbolic amount of compensation. Such is the deceptive semblance of a government that supposedly protects helpless farmers.

    Everyone in the village knows that the PA can do nothing. So, about two months ago, the residents launched a popular protest, just as citizens of other villages before them have done – from Kaddoum, Nabi Saleh, Bil’in, Na’alin and others. Every Friday, they gather on their land, which lies on the eastern side of the Allon Road, and are confronted by a large number of army and Border Police forces, who disperse them with great quantities of tear gas that hangs like a pall over Al-Mughayyir, and with rubber bullets, rounds of “tutu” bullets (live 0.22-caliber bullets). Then come the nighttime arrests. Overnight this past Sunday, the troops arrested another seven villagers who took part in the demonstrations; 35 locals are currently in detention. This is the method Israel uses to suppress every popular protest in the territories.

    According to the villagers, their sole demand is removal of the Mevo Shiloh outpost, which was established without a permit on a half-abandoned Israel Defense Forces base that overlooks their fields. The settlers burn the Palestininans’ fields, allow their sheep to graze on their land without permission, chase away the villagers’ flocks and perpetrate various “price tag” operations – hate crimes – against them.

    In the previous such assault, on November 25, eight cars were damaged. The graffiti, documented by Iyad Hadad, a field researcher for the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem, leave little to the imagination: “Death to the Arabs,” “Enough administrative orders,” “Revenge,” “Price Tag” – and also the unfathomable “Regards to Nachman Rodan.”

    The people of Al-Mughayyir say their problems have never been with the army, only with the settlers. Here the war is for control of the land. It is a primeval, despairing war in which law, property rights and ownership play no part – what counts is the violence that can be perpetrated, under the aegis of the occupation authorities. When, one day, these people are forced to give up their land in the wake of the violence, the settlers will chalk up yet another impressive achievement in their effort to chop up the West Bank into separate and disconnected slices of territory. This week, when we drove across village land toward Mevo Shiloh, the villagers who rode with us begged us to turn around at once. So great is their fear of the settlers, that even when they crossed their fields in a car with Israeli plates, accompanied by Israelis, they were seized by dread.

    The home of Amin Abu Aaliya, head of the village council, is perched atop a high hill, overlooking all the houses in his village and the fertile valley where his lands lie. In the winter sun that shines on the holiday of the trees, he serves a local pastry stuffed with leaves of green za’atar (wild hyssop), baked by his wife, who doesn’t join us. When we ask him to “Tell her it was delicious,” he replies, “She mustn’t get a swelled head.”

    The view from the roof of his elegant home is indeed stunning. Scratchy music that blares from an old Citroen Berlingo down below heralds the arrival in the village of a vendor selling the sweet cotton candy known here as “girls’ hair.” In the middle of the village, young people are decorating one of the houses with flags of Fatah and Palestine: A resident of the village is due to return home today after serving two years in an Israeli prison, and a festive welcome is being prepared for him.

    The Allon Road, which was paved in the 1970s and runs north to south in the eastern part of the West Bank, with the aim of severing its territories from the Kingdom of Jordan, also separated Al-Mughayyir from most of its land, about 30,000 dunams (7,500 acres), located east of the road. The villagers grew used to that over the years. They also forgave the expropriation of land for the road and afterward for its widening. There is no safe place for them to cross the Allon Road with their herds, to access their land but they grew used to that, too. Sometimes the army blocks the dirt road that leads from the village to their land and they are cut off from it, unless they decide to take a long bypass route there. A matter of routine.

    The people of Al-Mughayyir also learned how to live with the former existence of the military base of Mevo Shiloh, which dominated their land. They even came to terms with the Adei Ad outpost, whose members also assaulted them. But then the IDF evacuated the base and the settlers seized it. An internet search reveals that the settlers were ostensibly removed from this outpost a few years ago. But mobile homes sprout from the high hill that overlooks the village’s fields, and alongside them, large structures used for farming. Mevo Shiloh is alive and kicking.

    The villagers say that the Civil Administration, a branch of the military government, promised them in the past that the outpost would be evacuated, but that didn’t happen. Lacking the funds to wage a legal battle, and not believing it would produce results anyway, they embarked on their Friday demonstrations.

    I asked whether they had first consulted with other locales that have waged similar struggles. “There was no need to,” the council head said. “You don’t need consultation when you are in the right. We feel unsafe on our own land. How are we to protect ourselves and our lands? It’s a natural reaction: Either to turn to violence or to popular protest. We chose the path of popular protest.”

    The dirt path that leads east from the village toward the Allon Road reflects the events here in the past two months. Empty canisters of the tear gas fired at the demonstrators hang from electrical cables, the ground is strewn with the remnants of scorched tires and with stone barriers. During the Friday protest two weeks ago, 30 villagers were wounded by rubber-coated metal bullets. The troops film the demonstrators and raid the village at night to arrest them – standard procedure in the villages of the struggle. Close to 100 residents have been detained during the past two months.

    A dense cloud of tear gas hangs over Al-Mughayyir during the demonstrations and, according to council head Aaliya, even wafts upward to his house high on the hill. In some cases the settlers join the security forces to disperse the demonstrations, throwing stones at the protesters.

    Na’asan, whose trees were ravaged, arrives at Aaliya’s house and shows him a copy of the complaint he filed with the Binyamin police: “Confirmation of submission of complaint.” The space for the details of the incident is empty. The space for the place of the event contains the following, word for word: “Magir RM in the forest, nursery, grove, field.” The charge: “Damage to property maliciously.” Hebrew only, of course. “File No. 31237.”

    The police arrived at the grove last Friday, two hours after Na’asan discovered what had happened and reported it to the Palestinian Coordination and Liaison office. They said the ATV tracks seemed to lead to Mevo Shiloh. According to Na’asan, while the police were in the grove, a few settlers stood on the hill opposite and watched. The police are now investigating.

    About 20 members of Na’asan’s extended family subsist thanks to this grove, which before the attack boasted a total of 80 trees of different ages, all meticulously cultivated. Standing here now, he says he’ll have to clear away those that were felled and bandage the stumps against the cold. That’s the only way they will perhaps sprout new branches, which he will have to tend. It will take another 35 years for the grove to return to its former state. Na’asan is 62. This grove grew together with his children, he says. He knows there’s little chance he’ll be around to see it recover.

  • Once again, Israel denies the Bedouin what it grants the settlers
    On Wednesday the High Court will hear petitions against the demolition of the Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar, while two Palestinian villages request that the state demolish illegal structures in a nearby settlement
    Amira Hass Jul 27, 2018 10:23 PM

    Two Palestinian villages, basing their request on Civil Administration data, are asking the Israeli authorities to demolish illegal structures in the settlement of Kfar Adumim and outposts around it. In question are about 120 villas and other buildings in the settlement against which demolition orders have been issued (though, as of the beginning of 2017, at least half the structures had been approved retroactively), and in four outposts.

    In the outposts, most of the structures have been built on land defined as state land back in the days of Jordanian rule, and a smaller number have been built on land privately owned by village residents. This past Tuesday, at the Justice Ministry High Court department, Attorney Tawfiq Jabareen filed this request for the villages of Deir Dibwan and Anata, east of Ramallah, as the prelude to petitioning for the villages and some of their residents, owners of private land.

    In a preliminary argument, Jabareen talks about Israel’s “selective enforcement” policy. And as a reverse example — of “legalizing” the illegal construction in Kfar Adumim — he mentions the Bedouin village at Khan al-Ahmar, which existed long before the settlements were established and is now threatened by demolition, along with the expulsion of its residents. Before this request, a team of lawyers headed by Jabareen submitted two new petitions on behalf of the residents of Khan al-Ahmar.

    The deliberations on these petitions will be held this Wednesday, at a time when Khan al-Ahmar has become a focus of international interest and hosts protest gatherings every day. This comes against the backdrop of European and UN condemnations of the planned demolition and, in general, of Israel’s policy of thwarting Palestinian construction in the West Bank’s Area C, which is under exclusive Israeli control.

    Thus, three months before the law comes into effect denying the High Court authority to deliberate on matters concerning West Bank land and techniques for grabbing it from the Palestinians, a team of Palestinian lawyers who are Israeli citizens insists on bringing to the High Court matters of principle concerning discrimination, inequality and government arbitrariness.

    Settlements’ concerted action

    For its part, Kfar Adumim continues to demand implementation of the decision to demolish Khan al-Ahmar. This past Sunday, the settlement and two of its offshoots — Nofei Prat and Alon — asked to join the Israel Defense Forces and the Civil Administration as respondents in one of the two new Khan-al Ahmar petitions. This is the petition that asks to oblige the Civil Administration to relate to the detailed master plan recently submitted by the village. On behalf of the three settlements, attorneys Avraham Moshe Segal and Yael Cinnamon asked that the petition be rejected.

    A concerted legal and media battle by the three settlements over the past decade, as well as pressure from the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee’s subcommittee on West Bank affairs, led to the Civil Administration’s decision to demolish the village. During all those years, the previous attorney for the Bedouin village, Shlomo Lecker, managed to delay implementation of the demolition orders, including the order against the ecological school made out of tires.

    But in May a panel of justices headed by Noam Sohlberg, a resident of the settlement of Alon Shvut, ruled that there was no legal reason to intervene in the state’s decision to expel and forcibly transfer the village’s residents to an area the Civil Administration has allotted them next to the Abu Dis garbage dump.

    His partners in the decision were justices Anat Baron and Yael Willner; Willner has a brother and a sister living in Kfar Adumim, but she did not recuse herself from deliberating on the fate of Khan al-Ahmar, nor did she agree to attorney Lecker’s request that she do so. About a week after the High Court’s green light for the demolition, the Civil Administration’s Supreme Planning Council approved the construction of a new neighborhood for Kfar Adumim called Nofei Bereshit about 1 kilometer (0.6 miles) from the Bedouin community at Khan al-Ahmar.

    Preparations for the demolition and eviction began at the end of June, but the new petitions have halted them. It was Baron who issued a temporary injunction that has suspended the demolition.

    Attorneys Segal and Cinnamon, acting on behalf of the three settlements, write that the new petition (asking that the Civil Administration consider the master plan for the village) “is part of a broader move by the petitioners and influential elements on the ‘left’ side of the political map to ‘leave’ the ‘Palestinian construction criminals’ adjacent to the Israeli locales there and adjacent to Route 1 in order to create contiguous Palestinian settlement there.” (The internal quotation marks are in the original document).

    The settlements say that this is an illegitimate way to deliberate; it will let any judicial ruling be reopened in the hope that a different panel of judges will make a change. Regarding the matter at hand, the settlements note that the High Court has already addressed the possibility of preparing a master plan for the village at its current location and has ruled that there is nothing wrong with the state’s intention to demolish it.

    In their statement accompanying the request to join the respondents, the settlements write that the petitioners from Khan al-Ahmar are “construction criminals who have made a law unto themselves and have wittingly and without building permits built on lands that do not belong to them, adjacent to a major transportation artery [and then] brazenly applied to the honorable court to help them prevent the implementation of the demolition orders.”

    The settlements argue that the petitioners built the structures without any building permits and on land that “no one disputes that they do not have even a speck of a right to claim as theirs.”

    First construction, then legalization

    The Bedouin village’s tents and makeshift shacks are on plots of land belonging to residents of Anata, for which they have received the owners’ permission. These plots include a are part of a large area of lands under private Palestinian ownership listed in the Land Registry, which Israel expropriated in 1975 but has not used since. Route 1, which links Jerusalem to Jericho, was far from Khan al-Ahmar, and only when the road was widened was the distance decreased.

    One of the founders of Kfar Adumim, current Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel, submitted an action plan to the IDF back at the end of 1978 or the beginning of 1979. The plan confirms that Bedouin communities were living in the area before the settlements were established, but the plan demands that these communities be expelled, Palestinian construction be curtailed and contiguous Jewish settlement be established.

    On the basis of Civil Administration data, the planning rights group Bimkom published an opinion in 2010 on the pattern of planning and construction in Kfar Adumim and its offshoots: first construction without permits and only then planning that legalizes it.

    The settlement was established in 1979 but a detailed master plan was approved only in 1988. New homes were built without permits, awaiting legalization in another master plan approved years later. Before all the possibilities for construction in the 1988 plan were used up, detailed master plans were advanced aimed at establishing Alon and Nofei Prat, which are called neighborhoods even though they are not contiguous with the mother settlement. Each of these “neighborhoods” spawned an illegal outpost of its own.

    In his preliminary argument to the High Court, Jabareen mentions the Civil Administration’s demolition orders against large private homes in Kfar Adumim. He also mentions the legalization of at least half the structures against which orders were issued, and the four outposts created by the settlement and its offshoots Alon and Nofei Prat. The information about the outposts is based on Civil Administration and Peace Now data.

    The outpost Givat Granit was established in 2002 on about 70 dunams (17.3 acres) of land, of which 10 are privately owned land and the rest is state land from the Jordanian period. Five residential structures and part of the approach road are located on privately-owned land.

    The outpost Haroeh Ha’ivri was established without a master plan in 2015 on about 20 dunams of state land and serves as an educational farm school. The road to the outpost runs along private land, and the outpost receives funding from the Education Ministry. An events venue and desert field lodge was established on about 15 dunams of state land in 2012, and the outpost Ma’aleh Hagit was established in 1999 on about 70 dunams of state land with incursions onto privately-owned parcels.

    In the Kfar Adumim statement to the High Court, the attorneys write that the Khan al-Ahmar petition is political, “and to this will testify the deeds of the petitioners who exploited the temporary order they received for purposes of opening the school year and populating the school building (made of tires) with pupils . The entire aim of the petition is to advance the petitioners’ political agenda and their attempt to create contiguous Palestinian settlement in strategic areas of Judea and Samaria. The petitioners’ attempt to depict the issue as a legal issue is flawed to a large extent by artificiality and testifies to the petitioner’s lack of good faith.”

  • In West Bank, 99.7% of Public Land Grants by Israel Go to Settlers - The New York Times

    Peace Now based its calculations on data obtained from the Civil Administration, the Israeli authority that carries out civilian policy in the West Bank, including land administration, under the command of the military.

    The Civil Administration gave the numbers to Peace Now in mid-June, more than two years after the group submitted a request under the Freedom of Information Act, together with the Israeli Movement for Freedom of Information.

    #israel #colonisation #Palestine #impunité

  • Israeli minister planned eviction of West Bank Bedouin 40 years ago, document reveals
    Now agriculture minister, then settler activist, Uri Ariel was already planning in the 1970s the eviction of Bedouin living east of Jerusalem that is taking place now in Khan al-Ahmar
    Amira Hass Jul 12, 2018 2:57 AM

    Forty years ago Uri Ariel, now agriculture minister, was already planning the eviction of Bedouin living east of Jerusalem. This emerges from a document signed by him titled, “A proposal to plan the Ma’aleh Adumim region and establish the community settlement of Ma’aleh Adumim B.”

    The document outlines a plan to turn some 100,000 to 120,000 dunams (25,000 to 30,000 acres) of Palestinian land into an area of Jewish settlement and develop it as a “Jewish corridor,” as he put it, from the coast to the Jordan River. In fact, a large part of the plan has been executed, except for the eviction of all the area’s Bedouin.

    Now the Civil Administration and the police are expediting the demolition of the homes of the Jahalin in Khan al-Ahmar. This is one of approximately 25 Bedouin communities in the area that have become a flagship of the Bedouin resistance in the West Bank’s Area C against the efforts by the Israeli occupation to uproot them, gather them in a few compounds adjacent to Area A, and impose a semi-urban lifestyle on them.

    The boundaries of the area that Ariel sets for his plan are the Palestinian villages of Hizme, Anata, Al-Azariya and Abu Dis to the west, the hills overlooking the Jordan Valley to the east, Wadi Qelt to the north and the Kidron Valley and Horkania Valley to the south. “In the area there are many Bedouin involved in the cultivation of land,” he writes, contrary to the claims voiced today by settlers that the Bedouin only recently popped up and “took over” the land.

    But Ariel has a solution: “Since the area is used by the military and a large part of the industry there serves the defense establishment, the area must be closed to Bedouin settlement and evacuated.”

    This document, exposed here for the first time, was found by Dr. Yaron Ovadia in the Kfar Adumim archives when he was doing research for a book he’s writing about the Judean Desert. Ovadia wrote his doctorate about the Jahalin tribe.

    “Since [the area] is unsettled, it is now possible to plan it entirely,” Ariel wrote, about an area that constituted the land reserves for construction, industry, agriculture and grazing for the Palestinian towns and villages east of Bethlehem, Jerusalem and Ramallah. “Arab urban/rural settlement is spreading at an amazing pace along the route from Jerusalem eastward, and this linear spread must be stopped immediately.”

    His solutions: to build urban neighborhoods that will become part of Jerusalem and to “administratively close the area of the Arab villages by means of an appropriate plan.” This administrative closure by an appropriate plan can be discerned in the reality perpetuated by the Interim Agreement of 1995, which artificially divided the West Bank into Areas A and B, to be administered by the Palestinians, and Area C, which covers 60 percent of the West Bank, to be administered by Israel. That’s how Palestinian enclaves were created with limited development potential within a large Jewish expanse.

    Ariel’s plan was apparently written between late 1978 and the beginning of 1979, and he said that as far as he recalls, it was submitted to Brig. Gen. Avraham Tamir, the IDF’s head of planning. “We have been living for three years in the existing settlement at Mishor Adumim,” writes Ariel, referring to a settlement nucleus that was established in 1975 and was portrayed as a work camp near the Mishor Adumim industrial zone. Even before Ma’aleh Adumim was officially inaugurated, Ariel was proposing to build “Ma’aleh Adumim B,” i.e., Kfar Adumim, which was established in September 1979.

    Some Jahalin families were indeed evicted from their homes in 1977 and 1980. In 1994, expulsion orders were issued against dozens more, and they were evicted in the late 1990s, with the approval of the High Court of Justice. But thousands of Bedouin and their flocks remained in the area, albeit under increasingly difficult conditions as firing zones, settlements and roads reduced their grazing areas and their access to water. From the early 2000s the Civil Administration has been planning to evacuate the Bedouin and forcibly resettle them in permanent townships.

    It’s tempting to present Ariel’s 40-year-old suggestions as an example of the personal and political determination that characterizes many religious Zionist activists and was facilitated by the Likud electoral victory in 1977. But it was Yitzhak Rabin’s first government that decided to build a 4,500-dunam industrial zone for Jerusalem in Khan al-Amar. In 1975 it expropriated a huge area of 30,000 dunams from the Palestinian towns and villages in the area and built a settlement there disguised as a work camp for employees of the industrial zone.

    In a study (“The Hidden Agenda,” 2009) written by Nir Shalev for the nonprofit associations Bimkom – Planners for Planning Rights and B’tselem, he notes that the Housing and Construction Ministry’s Jerusalem district director when Ma’aleh Adumim was first being built in 1975 said that the objective behind it was political – “to block the entrance way to Jerusalem from a Jordanian threat.” But since the objective was political, it was clear that he wasn’t referring to a military threat, but to demographic growth that would require additional construction.

    The planning for Ma’aleh Adumim actually began in Golda Meir’s time in the early 1970s; at the time, minister Israel Galili advised Davar reporter Hagai Eshed that it would be best if the press didn’t deal with this “exciting and interesting” issue, “because it could cause damage.” Both the Meir and Rabin governments considered the planned settlement to be part of metropolitan Jerusalem. Moreover, during Rabin’s second government, the period of the Oslo Accords, Bedouin were evicted, in the spirit of Ariel’s proposal.

    Perhaps the most crucial move was actually made in 1971, when under that same government of Meir, Galili and Moshe Dayan, military order No. 418 was issued, which made drastic changes to the planning apparatus in the West Bank. The order removed the rights of Palestinian local councils to plan and build. As explained in another study by Bimkom (“The Prohibted Zone,” 2008) this prepared the legal infrastructure for the separate planning systems – the miserly, restrictive system for the Palestinians and the generous, encouraging one for the settlements. This distorted planning system refused to take into account the longtime Bedouin communities that had been expelled from the Negev and had been living in the area long before the settlements were built.

    The settlement part of Ariel’s proposal succeeded because it was merely a link in a chain of plans and ideas had already been discussed when the Labor Alignment was still in power, and which were advanced by a bureaucratic infrastructure that had been in place even before 1948. Today, under a government in which Ariel’s Habayit Hayehudi party is so powerful, the open expulsion of Bedouin is possible. But the expulsion of Palestinians in general is hardly a Habayit Hayehudi invention.

  • Israel condemns hundreds of Palestinians to unemployment – due to their last name
    Israeli authorities revoked the work permits of over a thousand Palestinians solely because they have the same surname as the perpetrator of a stabbing attack

    Gideon Levy and Alex Levac Mar 23, 2018 1:54 PM

    If this isn’t collective punishment, then what is collective punishment? If this isn’t arbitrariness, then what is arbitrariness? And if this measure doesn’t ignite a fire in the relatively tranquil West Bank town of Yatta, then what is the measure intended for? Yatta is distraught, its economy is threatened with collapse, and all because of one person who transgressed, because of whom Israel is punishing an entire town.

    Up until a few months ago, over 7,000 residents of this town in the south Hebron Hills had permits to work. Of them, 915 residents with the surname Abu Aram worked in Israel and hundreds more in the settlements, according to the Palestinian District Coordination and Liaison office in Yatta. But those workers then lost their jobs in Israel and the settlements solely because of their names, in the wake of an astounding, draconian decision of the Civil Administration, Israel’s governing body in the West Bank. In desperation, dozens even changed their names in their ID cards, but to no avail. Their way back to work in Israel, where they’ve held jobs for years, is blocked, though they have done nothing wrong. Here’s what happened:
    Last August 2, a 19-year-old Yatta resident, Ismail Abu Aram, stabbed Niv Nehemia, the deputy manager of a supermarket in the Israeli city of Yavneh, wounding him seriously. The assailant was arrested. The next day, the authorities decided – in accordance with standard procedure after a terrorist attack – to bar the assailant’s family from entering Israel. The ban was lifted 10 days later, family members returned to their jobs in Israel and the settlements, and Yatta resumed its usual way of life.

  • Saison France-Israël: Lettre de boycott from within à l’Institut français
    BDS France | 3 février 2018

    Madame Cécile Caillou-Robert, Commissaire Générale de l’Institut Français,

    Nous sommes des d’Israël, opposé.e.s à la politique d’oppression, d’occupation, d’apartheid et de nettoyage ethnique de notre gouvernement à l’encontre de la population autochtone palestinienne. Nous vous écrivons pour vous demander de respecter l’appel palestinien au Boycott, Désinvestissement, et Sanctions (BDS) d’Israël, particulièrement son aspect culturel , et d’annuler les événements de la Saison France-Israël 2018 financés par l’Institut Français. Nous vous remercions de bien vouloir nous lire jusqu’à la fin.

    Puisque vous voulez mettre en lumière les innovations culturelles, scientifiques et pédagogiques d’Israël, il nous semble approprié d’attirer votre attention sur la discrimination systématique d’Israël contre les, y compris contre ses propres Pour commencer, il est important pour nous de souligner que la Commission Économique et Sociale pour l’Asie occidentale des Nations Unies (ESCWA) estime que les violations des droits humains, commises quotidiennement par Israël dans les territoires occupés palestiniens, représentent une situation d’apartheid .(...)


    • Israeli Soldiers Demolish Two Classrooms In Abu Nuwwar Bedouin Community
      February 4, 2018

      Israeli soldiers invaded, Sunday, the Abu Nuwwar Bedouin community, built on Palestinian lands in the al-‘Ezariyya town, southeast of occupied East Jerusalem, and demolished two classrooms.

      Daoud Jahalin, the representative of Abu Nuwwar, said dozens of soldiers, police officers and representatives of the “Civil Administration Office,” which is run by the military in the West Bank, invaded the community after surrounding it.

      Jahalin added that the soldiers demolished two classrooms, for children in the third and fourth grades, which were built through European donations.

  • Israel helped establish 14 illegal West Bank outposts since 2011 -

    State support ranges from turning a blind eye to offering government funds ■ Review reveals system that helps clear the way for ’legalization’

    Yotam Berger Dec 25, 2017
    read more:

    Israeli authorities in September placed one of the so-called hilltop youth under house arrest at Havat Itamar Cohen – an illegal outpost in the West Bank. That’s one example, and not the only one, of how the authorities are involved in de facto legalization of illegal outposts. (The teen, who asked that his name not be published, said he’d had a falling out with the owner of the farm, who was going to beat him. A few hours later the Shin Bet security service and the army placed the teen in another, legal facility. People at the farm declined to comment.)
    To really understand Israel and the Middle East - subscribe to Haaretz
    Another example is that of Hill 387, a small illegal outpost established on state land near Kfar Adumim east of Jerusalem. At the outpost, surrounded by privately-owned Palestinian land, an NGO called Haroeh Ha’ivri (“the Hebrew Shepherd”) operates. Its official purpose is to rehabilitate violent settler teens known as hilltop youth. In fact, the association itself established the illegal outpost. Its documentation shows that it is funded solely by the Education Ministry, with an annual budget of a few hundred thousand shekels.

    Um Zuka. Olivier Fitoussi
    The Education Ministry at first denied that the NGO established the outpost, but the documents it filed with the Civil Administration show that not only did it establish the outpost illegally, it is also seeking to have it legalized retroactively.
    In 2014, Amira Hass disclosed in Haaretz that the Shomron Regional Council was behind the establishment of the illegal outpost Havat Shaharit. The Shomron Regional Council responded at the time that “the work was carried out by law and in coordination with the relevant officials.”
    Yet another illegal outpost, a kind of farm in the Umm Zuka nature reserve, was connected a few months ago to a water pipeline by a nearby Israel Defense Forces base.
    >> Settler leader used state resources to fund illegal outpost, while Israel turned blind eye <<

    Hill 387, the unauthorized West Bank settlement outpost where Jewish Shepherd operates a rehab program for teenage dropouts, in Jan. 2017.Olivier Fitoussi
    Ostensibly, after the report on illegal outposts submitted to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon by attorney Talia Sasson in 2005, no more illegal outposts were to have been established, certainly not with government assistance. The report, which revealed that the government had invested hundreds of millions of shekels directly and indirectly in the establishment of dozens of illegal outposts, was to have put an end to this phenomenon. But aerial photos and Civil Administration data show that it has not stopped, it’s only gone underground. Over the past six years illegal outposts are once more being established, some in recent months.

    Most of these outpost are hastily cobbled together, a tent or a prefab where “hilltop youth” – most of them under 18 – live off and on.
    The authorities are fighting against these outposts tooth and nail, removing them and sometimes arresting residents, among other reasons because the security forces see them as a source of violence against Palestinians. Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman seems almost pleased to order their evacuation – perhaps because they don’t have a political lobby or economic backing. Last summer, in speaking to journalists covering the West Bank, he called them “disturbed” and “idiots.”
    The law is not being enforced when it comes to the better-planned and more establishment-supported outposts; they are sometimes recognized and receive assistance and protection. Since 2011, 17 illegal outposts have been established, 14 of which are known to the Civil Administration. The way they were established shows their planning. The founders or planners examined aerial photos and the location chosen was not coincidental: They are built on government land, not privately-owned Palestinian land, which increases the chance that they will be legalized in the future. They are mainly built in fairly remote locations with a commanding view of the surroundings.
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    Three of them are near but not connected to existing settlements, such as the so-called “prefab neighborhood” set up near the outpost of Sde Boaz, which was evacuated about two weeks ago. Eleven outposts were set up as farms with living quarters for a few people who raise flocks or crops. No plans are known for evacuating these outposts, although they are all illegal.
    Dror Etkes, of the left-wing organization Kerem Navot, says that the founders of these outposts chose the locales and built their structures on state land so they can claim that they should not be evacuated. “They take over as much surrounding land as possible, including private land, which they steal by other means, such as cultivation or barring access [to the Palestinian landowners].” Etkes, who is in possession of Civil Administration maps, believes the settlers saw them before they established the outposts.
    At the outpost of Nahalat Yosef, east of Elon Moreh, Etkes says: “Huge surrounding areas are private, and were taken over by planting or barring access, and have very much increased the area of the outpost. It’s methodical, and they know exactly what they’re doing.”

    Umm Zuka nature reserveGil Eliyahu
    Civil Administration data obtained by Haaretz show that dozens of demolition orders have been issued against these outposts. Nine such orders were issued against Havat Itamar Cohen, and eight against Haroeh Ha’ivri. But the Civil Administration doesn’t issue demolition orders against outposts within settlement master plans, such as Neveh Ahi near the settlement of Halamish, which was established after the murder this year of the Salomon family in the unused area of where a master plan is in force.
    But the flood of demolition orders is misleading. In fact, these outposts can expect the authorities to turn a blind eye to them, if not support them outright. “Except for Sde Boaz, there are no evacuations,” said Etkes. “This is clearly sweeping immunity against enforcement of the law. Add to this all the infrastructure around it, electricity, water, road-building; this isn’t being paid for with settlers’ private money.”
    A resident of the evacuated outpost at Sde Boaz, which was established with the assistance of the regional council, told Haaretz: “They told us that the High Court had decided that it had to be dismantled. We were told there was no choice, that it could harm the settlements – so we left. We’re not hilltop youth, we’re good, law-abiding people we understood there was no point in going on.”

    West Bank outpost of Nahalat Yosef, east of Elon MorehOlivier Fitoussi
    We might learn about the future of the illegal outposts through the case of Malakhei Hashalom, a small outpost on an abandoned army base near Shiloh in the northern West Bank, with a sheep pen that is presented as a farm. Visits to the site revealed it is inhabited by one family and visited occasionally by teens. The Civil Administration has evacuated the site a few times, but according to officials familiar with the case, a few months ago it was agreed between the Civil Administration and the site that its inhabitants would evacuate it of their own free will. The state sent them trucks and they piled their belongings on them. The Civil Administration proudly touted the evacuation. But within a few weeks later the outpost was established elsewhere, with the same sheep.
    SponsoredThe Unusual Link Between Coconut Oil and Alzheimer’s

    Yotam Berger
    Haaretz Correspondent

  • Dear Europe, take note: If you want to, Israel can be pressured - Palestinians -

    A recent case involving Dutch solar panels shows how friendly states can make Israel back down when it violates international humanitarian law

    Amira Hass Oct 23, 2017
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    The High Court justices once more found an escape hatch; once again, they would not have to discuss the basic, outrageous fact that Israel is not connecting thousands of Palestinians (on both sides of the Green Line) to the national electricity and water infrastructure. This time the way out was found in the village of Jubbet ad-Dhib at the foot of Herodion, southeast of Bethlehem. It needed a hybrid (solar plus diesel) electrical system that was installed by the Comet-ME Israeli-Palestinian aid organization, because Israel had not met its international obligation to connect it to the electrical grid.
    All those who accuse the High Court of being leftist can relax. It has missed hundreds of opportunities to rule that withholding water and electricity is illegal according to international law, illegal according to Israeli law, and unacceptable according to Jewish law. Hundreds of times – to count by the number of petitions that have been submitted – the court had the opportunity to instruct the state to connect the Palestinian communities to the water and electrical infrastructure, but it avoided doing so, often citing technicalities. Back when current Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked was still a toddler, the court was already repeatedly missing opportunities to salvage the reputation of Jewish morality from downing in the sludge of nationalism and the lust to expel.
    The escape hatch in Jubbet ad-Dhib was shown to the justices by Brigadier General Ahvat Ben Hur, but it was none other than Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who created that opening. The Dutch government, which had funded the hybrid electrical system, was furious over the confiscation of the solar panels, and Netanyahu promised the Dutch in writing that the panels Israel had confiscated from the village in late June would be returned. And then what does Ben Hur, the direct commander of the confiscators from the Civil Administration do? He informs the state prosecutor, which informed the High Court, that he’d decided to return the panels.
    Ben Hur did not do so to honor the state’s obligation to a protected population. Rather, he cited a technicality. The panels were confiscated eight months after they had been installed and operate, he explained. Thus, the petition written by attorneys Michal Sfard and Michal Pasovsky was rendered redundant. That’s a shame. It would have been interesting to see what contortions the justices would have got into in response to the arguments (also accepted by the Dutch government) that denying access to electricity and destroying electricity systems are offenses that violate international humanitarian law.
    Ben Hur’s statement enabled the state prosecutor and the justices to also avoid addressing the fact that the Civil Administration had made improper use of a military order. The seizure orders that were given to the Jubbet ad-Dhib residents on the day of the confiscation cited Article 60 of the order regarding security provisions. This article makes seizure contingent upon a criminal offense having been committed using the equipment slated for seizure. The confiscation order did not specify what offense was supposedly committed with the solar panels. The lawyers’ inquiries to the Civil Administration about this went unanswered. Presumably, then (also based the COGAT spokesperson’s response to journalists), the suspected offense is related to planning and building laws. But this is an administrative offense that does not come under the military order regarding security provisions. The procedures for dealing with it are different – cease work orders and demolition orders, hearings, arguments against the orders, appeals, negotiations, a petition to the High Court.
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  • “No problem, beat them up – but do it behind some wall.”

    testimony catalog number: 396704
    rank: Sergeant
    unit: Civil Administration
    area: Nablus area
    period: 2014
    There was a vehicle inspection at the Tapuah Junction (a central West Bank intersection). There are those 10-person taxis, minivan cabs. They were put up in a row with their hands behind their necks. It’s not necessary, they could stand in a regular way while their IDs are being checked. They were [being ordered to do that] for no reason, it was a super hot day, and I was ashamed. The whole way they do things at the junction is disgusting, sometimes – one of the [border] policewomen, she was taking her time, talking on the two-way radio, checking IDs, kidding around during the process, and these people are standing there – I don’t know for how long.

    Standing with their hands on the backs of their necks?
    Yeah, in a row. It happens all the time, there’re routine checks all the time. It’s a central fucking junction in Samaria. So one time some senior figure in the [Palestinian] administration claimed, “I was passing through the junction and I saw three people bound up, down on their knees,” everybody was just seeing them being dried out there, and it looked bad. He’s mindful of the fact that they were arrested and it could be that there’s some security thing there – but hey, do it off to the side. An hour later, the same claim was made by another senior figure. [The response of the] border police: “We are not aware of this.”

    That was the response, “Border police are not aware of this?”
    Not aware, simply not aware of anything like this going on. Later there was another claim, it happened a few times that people said that they were right at the junction, looking really bad, it looks bad, this situation. ‘Not aware, not aware, not aware.’ It took, like, three hours till they even admitted that something had happened there. The whole inspection took a long time, a really long time.

  • Revealed: Nearly 3,500 settlement homes built on private Palestinian land

    These illegal structures could be legalized under Israel’s contentious ’land-grab’ law, whose validity is now being determined by the High Court of Justice

    Yotam Berger Aug 23, 2017
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    There are 3,455 residential and public buildings built on private Palestinian lands in the West Bank, according to Civil Administration data. These illegal structures could be legalized under the expropriation law, whose validity is now being determined by the High Court of Justice in response to Palestinian petitions against the law.
    Extensive details on the scope of illegal structures on private Palestinian land were revealed in an appendix to the state’s response to the petitions.
    The law allows the state to expropriate Palestinian lands on which settlements or outposts were built “in good faith or at the state’s instruction,” and deny its owners the right to use those lands until there is a diplomatic resolution of the status of the territories. The measure provides a mechanism for compensating Palestinians whose lands are seized.
    According to the Civil Administration, the 3,455 structures fall into three categories. The first includes 1,285 structures that are clearly private land. These are structures built during the past 20 years on land that was never defined as state land and all have had demolition orders issued against them. The second category comprises 1,048 structures that were built on private land that had earlier been erroneously designated state land. The third category contains 1,122 structures that were built more than 20 years ago, during a period when planning laws were barely enforced in the West Bank.
    The structures on clearly private land are within the jurisdictions or adjacent to the jurisdictions of 74 settlements throughout the West Bank. Of these, 874 are in outposts – small, illegal satellites of larger settlements. One example would be the Tzur Shalem outpost near Karmei Tzur in the Etzion Bloc. Amona, which was evacuated in February, was another example. The other 411 are individual structures that were built on enclaves of private land within various legal settlements that were planned in accordance with Israeli law.
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    Of the 1,285 structures built on clearly private land, 543 are built on what the Civil Administration calls “regularized private land,” meaning lands whose owners are known and whose ownership is formally registered. The other homes are built on lands recognized as private after aerial photos proved that these lands had been cultivated over the years, but there is no definitive registry of who was cultivating them. Cultivating land establishes ownership in the West Bank in accordance with the Ottoman-era laws that still prevail there.

  • Jerusalem without Palestinians? - Opinion -

    Israel continues to treat peace talks with the Palestinians like a soccer game: There has to be a winner and a loser. Peace as a shared interest has disappeared from Israelis’ emotional and intellectual lexicon

    Amira Hass Jul 18, 2017
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    Is an Old City of Jerusalem without Palestinians unimaginable? This question couldn’t have been put into words if it were unimaginable. Given the ghost town in Hebron and the hell of besieged Gaza, there’s no choice but to conclude that the dynamics of the perpetuation of the temporary Oslo Accords, combined with the security mythos, might lead to a similar nightmare scenario in Jerusalem.
    In Israel, “security” is only for the Jews and their state. The fact that the Palestinians under this state’s rule constantly live without any kind of security – physical, employment-wise, property-wise, emotional or nutritional – is erased from every intelligence assessment and every moral position.
    For the sake of the Hebron settlers’ security, Yitzhak Rabin punished the Palestinians with curfews and segregation for the massacre perpetrated on them by Dr. Baruch Goldstein. Fewer Arabs in the streets of Hebron, more security for the Jews. And all those who came after Rabin followed him down this slope toward a ghost town in Hebron.
    Israel continues to treat peace talks like a soccer game or a wrestling match: There has to be a winner and a loser. Peace as a shared interest has disappeared from Israelis’ emotional and intellectual lexicon. Ever since 1994, the leaders’ orders and the actions on the ground by the army and the Civil Administration have sent the opposite message: We must beat the Palestinians in negotiations.
    And what constitutes victory? No independent Palestinian state as envisioned by the United Nations in its resolutions, and as the Palestinians have agreed to since 1988.
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    The separation of the Gaza Strip (since 1991, my friends) from the rest of the Palestinian territory and the separation of East Jerusalem (since 1993, ladies and gentlemen) from both the West Bank and Gaza were ostensibly temporary security measures. But ever since implementation of the Oslo Accords began, Israel has proved that instead of ending these separations, it’s making them worse. These twin separations were the prerequisites for thwarting the UN resolutions.
    In the interim battles waged since 1994, the Palestinians have been defeated. In their chronic weakness, they created a duplicate and cumbersome system of limited self-government whose interest in surviving is intertwined with Israel’s interest in continuing the façade of negotiations and what it has produced to date: enclaves of fictitious sovereignty.
    Once, negotiations were a means. But as peace became more distant, like the horizon when you walk toward it, negotiations became an end. Now, resuming negotiations is an end. Still, we must remember that despite all these interim surrenders, the Palestinian leadership still hasn’t produced the longed-for signature on the final surrender “agreement.”
    This is the reason for the daily arrests, checkpoints, raids, new roads and neighborhoods for settlers, people arrested over Facebook posts, rulings by judges in Jerusalem ousting Palestinians from their homes so Jews can move in, and every few years, the offensives and wars. All these are steps in the negotiations.
    Make the situation a little worse and it becomes necessary to hold lengthy interim negotiations on “restoring the status quo ante,” which is never actually restored. Step by step, Israelis hope, they are advancing toward a Palestinian signature on a surrender.
    Today, metal detectors are a security measure, ostensibly a necessary one. Ostensibly this has no connection to other steps – bureaucratic, planning, legal, administrative – that Israel has systematically taken to dismantle East Jerusalem as a Palestinian city and the capital of the State of Palestine.
    With the dexterity of white-collar crime suspects and the smugness of high-class pimps, Israeli representatives turn the violent reality on its head: Israel is the one defending itself, the Palestinians are the attackers. This lets Israel make its aggressive policies toward them even harsher – gradually but constantly, ostensibly in response.
    Security for Jews only, perpetual negotiations, separation and siege until the Palestinians surrender, Palestinian weakness – all the elements that made Gaza and Hebron possible also exist in Jerusalem. The pan-Muslim Al-Aqsa Mosque saves us from a full Hebronization. But not from all the steps along the way.

  • The Dutch gamble - Opinion -

    The Dutch, giving money for solar panels in Palestinian villages, decided to take a risk on the assumption that their country has a gentleman’s agreement with Israel

    Amira Hass Jul 05, 2017
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    The Dutch officials who signed off on a contribution of half a million euros ($590,000) for the Israeli-Palestinian organization Comet-ME for an ecological electricity project in Palestinian villages (in the West Bank’s Area C) knew that the project was being carried out without a permit from the Israeli occupation authorities.
    They decided to take a risk on the assumption that their country has a gentleman’s agreement with Israel: We, the Dutch, won’t bug you about your methodical breaches of international law and the settlements; we might wag our finger but we’ll continue our excellent economic, cultural, scientific and social ties with you. In exchange for our unending patience, you’ll close your eyes in a friendly way and allow us to finance a humanitarian project.
    Most of the Dutch contribution, 350,000 euros, was invested in the village of Jubbet Adh-Dhib, east of Bethlehem. The village has been asking to be connected to the electricity grid since 1988. The Civil Administration refused. Since November 2016, when Comet-ME completed installation of a micro-grid, the village – with its 31 homes and 160 residents, a kindergarten, a mosque, five small businesses and a mobile clinic that arrives once a week – has enjoyed electricity.
    For eight months, the Dutch officials could conclude that their gamble had paid off. Reports from the village were encouraging: Health and hygiene improved thanks to refrigeration to store food and medicines, a sense of security and safety was provided by night lighting, people could be more active during the day, especially children doing their homework; their school achievements improved thanks to computers that worked, women could work less hard thanks to electrical appliances.
    Instead of noisy, polluting, costly generators that the people of Jubbet Adh-Dhib had been operating until then, which only provided electricity for three hours out of 24, an environmentally- and user-friendly solution had been found.
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    Nobody could be against this, the Dutch thought. But it turned out that somebody was. The heroes of the Civil Administration, the obedient executors of Israeli policy, could not abide electricity in a Palestinian kindergarten. They raided the village last Wednesday and confiscated the solar panels and other equipment and damaged the apparatus. In just an hour, they destroyed equipment that had taken five months to install, made the refrigerators and the computers superfluous, darkened the village and brought back the despair and the polluting generators. And all around them, the lights of settlements and outposts twinkled.

    What allows Israel to spit on the money of Dutch taxpayers and thumb its nose at the good intentions of one of the governments friendliest to Israel? Here are a few theories: Because of that same Dutch and European patience with Israel and the way it ignores basic principles of fairness; because Israel thinks Europe is preoccupied with its own problems and won’t take any real steps against it; because Israel has already destroyed humanitarian equipment funded by European countries and, other than protests and declarations, nothing happened; because Israel is a Jewish-democratic country.
    The great majority of Israel’s Jewish citizens do not oppose the destruction of a source of energy to a Palestinian village, or see it as a disaster or injustice. This lack of opposition encourages more of the same. Israelis also think foreign countries should not interfere in our business; after all, it’s clearly our private affair whether Jubbet Adh-Dhib has electricity or not.
    Why is it our business? Quite a few young people have left the village and moved to Area A or Area B because they couldn’t stand the conditions, without building permits and without electricity. If everyone leaves, there will be more land available for us, the Jewish citizens of the Jewish democratic country. That’s simple arithmetic and typical Israeli long-term thinking.
    Let’s hope that this time, the Dutch protest won’t stop at words.

    #Israël #Palestine #Pays-Bas

  • Netanyahu announces policy of restrained settlement construction in ’show of good will’ to Trump

    Prime Minister informs ministers that while no formal understandings have been reached in talks with the White House, Israel will unilaterally limit new construction almost exclusively to already-developed areas of existing settlements.

    Barak Ravid Mar 31, 2017
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    Israel will adopt a policy of limiting new construction in West Bank settlements to within the boundaries of areas that have already been built upon or in some specific cases precisely adjacent to them, Prime Minister Netanyahu said at a security cabinet meeting late Thursday night
    >> Get all updates on Israel, Trump and the Palestinians: Download our free App, and Subscribe >>
    A minister who was present at the meeting and requested to remain anonymous said Netanyahu informed the cabinet that despite several weeks of discussions on the issue, no understandings have yet been reached between Israel and the United States regarding settlement construction and that the differences between the sides remained unchanged.
    >>U.S. senator slams decision to build new settlement: ’Netanyahu not serious about two states’>>
    However, Netanyahu said he had decided to respond to U.S. President Donald Trump’s reservations regarding the settlements by unilaterally adopting a policy of restrained construction that will almost exclusively include building in already-developed areas of existing settlements to avoid appropriating new land or expanding the territory of established settlements.
    “There are no understandings with the Americans and this wasn’t agreed one with the administration, but rather these are restrictions that Israel is taking upon itself in response to the president’s request,” said the minister. “In any case, the ’payment’ to the Americans isn’t over.”

    >> Israel’s settlers are beginning to miss Obama | Analysis >>
    Another senior source who also requested to remain anonymous said Netanyahu told the cabinet ministers that out of consideration for Trump’s positions, Israel will take significant steps to reduce, in so much as possible, the expansion of existing settlement territory beyond already-developed areas and that this too would be significantly restricted to allow for the progress of a peace process.
    At the meeting, Netanyahu presented four main points outlining Israel’s new policy in the settlements:
    1. Israel will continue construction, when permissible, within previously developed areas.
    2. Where this is not permissible, Israel will allow construction in areas adjacent to those already developed.
    3. Where neither of these criteria are met, due to legal, security or topographical constraints, Israel will allow construction on the closest land possible to developed areas.
    4. Israel will not allow the creation of any new illegal outposts.
    A second minister who participated in the meeting said that Netanyahu said no understanding had been reached in the talks with the White House and that, in effect, the sides had decided “to agree to disagree.”
    However, Israel unilaterally agreed to adopt a policy that would take into consideration Trump’s concerns that continued construction in the settlements would expand its West Bank territory to a point that would prevent the creation of a Palestinian country in the future.
    “This isn’t an agreement with the Americans, but rather unilateral policy by the government of Israel,” said the second minister. “The Americans said that they don’t agree with construction in the settlements in any case, but that they can live with it and there won’t be an international crisis over every new home that’s built.”
    Netanyahu told the ministers in the meeting that he believes Israel should limit construction in a show of good will toward Trump.
    “This is a very friendly administration and we need to take his requests into consideration,” Netanyahu told the ministers. No vote was taken during the meeting, but all the ministers agreed to the policy of restrained construction and there were no arguments or conflicts between Netanyahu and any of the ministers.
    “This is moderate, reasonable policy,” said one of the cabinet ministers. “There’s no limit on the number of housing units and no distinction between the blocs and the solitary settlements. It will be possible to build, but in a gradual and measured way and without taking more and more hills.” 
    Netanyahu’s announcement of new policy came as the cabinet approved the construction of a new settlement for the first time in over 20 years, in part to house those evacuated from the illegal outpost of Amona in February. 
    A White House official told Haaretz that Netanyahu had informed the Trump administration that he intended to stand by his commitment to build this new settlement, but that a new policy would then be adopted that would restrict new construction in consideration of Trump’s concerns.
    Over the past few weeks, Netanyahu mostly kept the minister’s in the dark on the details of the talks with the American government and managed them with only his closest advisors. The only minister who was briefed was Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who had to know because the Civil Administration, which is responsible for planning and building in the settlements, is under his authority.
    Last week, Netanyahu’s senior advisors held four days of talks in Washington with U.S. envoy Jason Greenblatt and his team, but didn’t succeed in reaching a final understanding. However, in a joint statement released by the two sides at the end of the round of talks, they said that Israel is prepared, in principle, to restrict construction in the settlements in consideration of Trump’s desire to push forward with a peace process.
    Israel’s umbrella organization for settlers, the Yesha Council, responded to the news, but did not attack the decision. “In wake of the decision and despite some restrictions, the understandings reached between the governments of Israel and the U.S. administration permit the continued settlement construction in all the communities in Judea and Samaria, and even the establishment of a new settlement for the residents of Amona,” the council said.
    “The true test will be the immediate renewal of planning and development throughout the settlements. We will stand guard and work to make sure that the Israeli government will actualize this plan,” they said.

  • A worthy sacrifice for a Judeo-Samarian
    Amira Hass Mar 09, 2017 1:47 AM

    The demolitions of Palestinian structures are easy prey. The horns of the altar shout: More. Harder. Bigger. It is not enough to destroy, people must be evicted, driven out, uprooted.

    While you recite Emmanuel Levinas and boast of his being Jewish, and while you prepare the list of guests to invite to celebrate our passing from bondage to freedom, the Jewish high priest sharpens his knife. And while you update the anti-Semitism index with another shattered tombstone and read out poetry on Friday nights in Ashkenazi and Sephardi style, your smug faces are reflected in the gleaming blade. And while you beam with joy at the cleverness of the grandson and youngest daughter and book seats for a show in London, the blade moves closer to the neck of the victim tied on the altar in Amona.

    How can we appease you, Judeo-Samarian, how can we placate your wrath, god of vengeance, if not by destroying 10 times more and by the falsehood of symmetry. Kalansua. Umm al-Hiran. Issawiya. Beit Hanina. Jabal Mukkaber. But Moloch is not satiated. The demolitions there are easy prey. The horns of the altar shout: More. Harder. Bigger.

    The knife moves closer and closer, the blade is shining, the saliva is dripping. It is not enough to destroy, people must be evicted, driven out, uprooted. Moloch wants to see the children wet themselves at night, the women waking up in alarm, the shepherds impoverished and selling their goats to pay the court fee, the old men imagining the army loading them on trucks, while you board a plane for a trek in Chile.

    The newspaper reported: The Civil Administration converted the stop-work orders into demolition orders for some 150 structures in the Jahalin community in Khan al-Ahmar (the village whose school is made of tires). The newspaper also reported: The Civil Administration wants to gather all the Bedouin and settle them permanently on Area C in two or three townships. It also said: According to Israel’s laws these structures are illegal.

    The newspaper didn’t report that these are laws of evil and wickedness, which discriminate between one person’s blood and another’s, between one person’s child and another’s. These laws that have evicted the Jahalin time and again, restricted them, and allowed the children of Adumim who came dozens of years later to build and prosper. And now they have their eye on the Bedouin’s little huts as well.

    The newspaper will report: On Thursday the state prosecution will respond to the village of Sussia’s petition against the state’s intent to uproot it for the fourth or fifth time. It will probably say: The state insists on going ahead with its plan. The master plan the villagers proposed is unacceptable. The newspaper has already reported: The state knows it’s better for Sussia residents to move to a place near their brethren in the city of Yatta, with their power and water. The school will be close, and this proximity will empower the women. In secret ink it will say: Jews need living space and a view that’s cleansed of Arabs and a pleasant breeze blowing between the rocks and the vineyards, and this land will be only for us and our seed.

    This fact, too, wasn’t written in the newspaper: As a prelude to carrying out the court’s order – tearing down the Amona houses that were built in good faith and a pure soul on the enemy’s land – it was agreed and decided to sacrifice the Khan al-Ahmar community on the altar. Only its complete destruction will be accepted as a worthy offering.

    And on the way, we’ll teach the Supreme Court judges another lesson. Granted, they have never intervened to thwart our holy determination to deny the Bedouin water and power and building rights. But the judges have also ruled that houses should not be demolished as long as there’s no alternative. Now we’ll show them that it’s possible to destroy and uproot even without an alternative.

    Sussia and Khan al-Ahmar have become symbols of the struggle against the laws of wickedness, a subject of international interest and statements against forced uprooting, which is a war crime. When these communities are defeated and destroyed and torn out, we’ll prove that the world is good only at making statements.

    We will then find time for all the other communities we aim to wipe out. Arab a-Ramadin, Abu Qubeita, Khalet Hamad, Khatib on Hizme and dozens of other families and communities, for whom the knives are being sharpened. While you’re hurrying to a concert.

  • Israel Remapped West Bank Land to Pave Way for Settlement Construction - Israel News - Haaretz
    Civil Administration project would allow government to use areas designated as ’state-owned land’ to expand existing isolated settlements.

    Chaim Levinson May 31, 2016 6:37 AM
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    The Civil Administration re-mapped over 15,000 acres in the West Bank last year, which suggests an intention to embark on wide-scale settlement construction.
    The mapping was done by a special team called “Blue Line,” working for the Civil Administration.
    The project involves the examination of maps of areas designated as state lands last century.
    The old maps are digitally scanned, making them more accurate.
    In order to permit construction on land that was declared as state land before 1999, the Civil Administration is required to map it again.
    Mapping over 15,000 acres is a significant increase in the rate of mapping carried out, in comparison to previous years. In 2014 only 5,000 acres were mapped, while in 2013 slightly over 3,000 acres were mapped.
    Apparently, one of the objectives of the new mapping is to prevent Palestinians living in military fire zones from petitioning the High Court of Justice against the activity taking place near their homes.
    The assumption is that if the mapping clarifies that the land is state land, Israel can argue that Palestinian houses were built on it after the area was designated as state land.
    Judging by the distribution of these areas, one can assess where the state is intending to allow settlements to be built. Thus, 240 acres were mapped near Nokdim. Almost one acre is near the settlement of Gitit. Almost 11 mapped acres near Tarkumiya are not close to any existing settlement.
    Settlement researcher Dror Etkes, who analyzed the data, told Haaretz that “it’s important to realize that these mapping efforts are directed almost exclusively deep into the West Bank and to settlements that are far from the settlement blocs, and to areas designated earlier by Israel as fire zones, even though it’s obvious that they comprise part of the pool of land that Israel is gradually handing over to settlements.”

  • Israel Must Return the Bodies of the Palestinians Killed at Qalandiyah -

    Israel’s refusal to return the bodies of killed assailants is another depressing stage in the methodical dehumanization of the Palestinians, aimed at continuing the control over them.

    Gideon Levy May 05, 2016 9:17 AM

    Maram Abu Ismayil, 23, and brother Ibrahim Salah Tahah, 16, shot after attempted stabbing at Qalandia checkpoint in West Bank. April 28, 2016Reuters, Mohamad Torokman

    Fatmah and Salah Taha lost two children last week. Maram and Ibrahim were shot dead at the Qalandiyah checkpoint in another execution of suspected stabbers. Salah, a taxi driver from Qatannah, who for years drove ritual slaughterers and kashrut inspectors from Bnei Brak, was made a doubly bereaved father.

    But for Israel this grief doesn’t suffice. The government is determined to maltreat him further. His suffering and that of his wife isn’t enough to satisfy its lust for abuse. There is no explanation for its stubborn refusal to return the bodies of their children to these poor parents, other than pure evil. There’s no other explanation for this nauseating necrophilia apart from the desire of a few cynical politicians to satisfy their voters’ desire for revenge.

    The competition between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan is being conducted on the bodies of Palestinians, and it has reached a macabre stage. Erdan, in the name of the police, patriotism and his supporters in Likud, refuses to return bodies. Ya’alon, in the name of a semblance of humanity, will return them, while Netanyahu instructs his ministers not to return them, but this week restored their authority over the morgue refrigerators.

    The body of the ramming attacker near Dolev was returned on Tuesday; he was lucky that soldiers killed him and not policemen. MK Oren Hazan has already protested.

    Where does this wickedness come from? Why this demonic attitude toward bereaved families whose whole world has been destroyed? At times their loved ones were killed as if they were stray animals; they weren’t given medical attention and were left strewn on the road. And then officials can’t even restore to the families their last vestige of dignity and comfort by returning the bodies so they can have a grave to visit.

    Hamas also does this and it’s equally vile, but it does it to try to get its prisoners released. Israel does it with the excuse that it doesn’t want mass funerals and the dead to be glorified; not only does it appropriate the right to decide who lives and who dies, it also gets to decide who will be a hero. As if having their houses demolished and work permits cancelled isn’t enough, family members must also cope with this.

    Meanwhile, the bodies are piling up. They are laid out in refrigerator drawer after refrigerator drawer. Bodies of stabbers and rammers along with those who were only suspected of being such; many were executed for no reason. They were women, men and teenagers who decided to oppose the occupation in the most desperate and pathetic fashion. Confiscating their bodies – lest we say snatching them – doesn’t only increase the families’ pain, it intensifies the anger, frustration and desire for revenge in the territories. The posters are already hanging in the city streets: Give us back the bodies.

    This is another depressing stage in the methodical dehumanization of the Palestinians, aimed at continuing the control over them. Before their lives were worth nothing; now their bodies aren’t, either. Their lives belong to us and now their bodies do as well.

    People without rights, who were born to kill, have no feelings either. They can be abused during their lifetimes, in their deaths and afterward as well. They aren’t worthy of the title “bereaved parents.” What do they know of bereavement? Only we can be bereaved parents, only we can feel grief, alongside the pain and the rights. A society in which not a day goes by without fawning over and wallowing in the memory of its dead is not ashamed to show contempt for the feelings of its victims.

    In the house of mourning in Qatannah, an uncle of the dead told me this week, “They killed them, they killed them, but at least give us the bodies. We can’t go on without a grave.” When he sought to find out what would happen to the bodies of his niece and nephew from the Civil Administration headquarters in Beit El, he was thrown out. What are you even doing here, they asked, before they removed him.

    Indeed, what was he even doing there?


  • Army Terror Against the Palestinians That Journalists Only Yawn at - Haaretz -
    Amira Hass Feb 17, 2016

    “We’re not allowed to talk to you,” the soldiers said Monday, offering instead a piece of paper written in Hebrew with an appeal in the name of the “Military Commander, Binyamin Sector.” On Sunday evening they invaded the home of a family in the village of Beit Ur al-Tahta, southwest of Ramallah. They ordered the family to take their living-room furniture out of the room, placed a bright yellow chemical toilet in the yard, and hung two Israeli flags on the roof.

    Eleven people live in that well-kept house on a hill in the southern part of the village. Five or six soldiers have ensconced themselves in the living room and occasionally go up to the roof or into the garden. The women say that even though the soldiers put a portable toilet in the yard, they urinate off the balcony.

    Turning a Palestinian residence into a military position is a yawn for journalists. A yawn represented by the failure to report; by the lack of public interest. Children’s fear of rifles, the disruption of family life and violent invasive acts have become a natural norm in a state where settlers’ needs define everything.

    “Dear residents, recently a number of attempts by young people to attack Israeli citizens in your area have occurred,” states the piece of paper the soldiers handed out. “In response, military forces have been forced to act in the village to prevent the continuation of danger to the citizens’ security.

    “The military activity of the military forces in the village is intended to reduce the number of violent incidents against Israeli citizens traveling on roads and living in the area, to protect the security of the region, not to disrupt your routine.”

    Routine: Military jeeps keep entering the village when the drivers feel like it. Tear gas and stun grenades. Military positions all around. Wide Route 443, built on the land of the village and other villages in the Ramallah district, but forbidden for Palestinians to travel on. The road and its branches, which connect the coastal region to Jerusalem and the settlements (Givat Ze’ev, Ramot, and others), sketch a wide strip inside the West Bank that has in effect been emptied of Palestinians save for laborers who work in the settlements. This is how the natural continuum between Ramallah and its suburbs, and the villages north and south of the road, is broken.

    Routine: 36 percent of the village’s 5,650 dunams are in Area B (where Israel permits the Palestinian Authority to plan and build), and the rest – 3,575 dunams – is in Area C, under exclusive Israeli civilian and military control. For the common soldier, C is the State of Israel, and this is apparent in Beit Ur al-Tahta, a synonym for the ban on Palestinian construction, the ban on paving and improving agricultural roads, or the ban on refusal to expand master plans.

    Even this onerous routine was disrupted last Thursday. A combined force of the army and Civil Administration equipped with a bulldozer managed to enforce the Area C laws within two hours. In a farmed wadi south of the village they destroyed an ancient cistern rehabilitated by the Palestinian Agriculture Ministry, as well as a planted plot and a stone fence.

    On a hill planted with olive trees in the northern part of the village, they destroyed a small, old concrete structure that was used for storing tools, and at the entrance to the village they confiscated a prefab room that a car-parts firm used as an office and poured sand on five junked cars. They confiscated a parked backhoe and a backhoe blade they found on the hill above, and for dessert they destroyed an iron gate and rummaged through an empty plot on the side of the road.

    “We believe that you too want to live in peace and without any military activity in the village and in your homes,” the military commander concludes on that piece of paper. “Therefore, remove those who carry out terrorist acts and violence. In a joint action that will prevent terrorist activities, we will reach peace in the region.”

    But in the dictionary of the residents (and mine), destruction of cisterns, theft of land and livelihood, and invasions of homes are acts of terror.

    Amira Hass

  • A Palestinian Mother of Four, Shot 17 Times for Being a Bad Driver -
    Gideon Levy and Alex Levac Jan 02, 2016 4:24 AM
    Mahdia Hammad was hurrying home to feed her baby. Border Policemen signaled her to stop, but she continued to drive, slowly. Then they sprayed her car with bullets.

    Here, next to the house’s fence, is where the car rolled to a stop after it had continued to move even though its driver was already dead. And here’s where the Border Policemen stood as they shot dozens of bullets into her car. It all happened on this normally quiet residential street at the edge of the town of Silwad, north of Ramallah. Only the shell casings still scattered along the side of the road and the fragments of the shattered windows of the Hyundai Lantra testify mutely to what happened here last Friday.

    This is where Israeli troops killed Mahdia Hammad, a 40-year-old mother of four, the youngest a child of 10 months. In Israel it was claimed that she tried to run over the Border Policemen, who were standing in the street. Her husband claims that she was an inexperienced driver who was hurrying home to feed their son and was apparently rattled by the sight of the Israeli force and lost her head. One way or the other, nothing can explain the rage and lust to kill that seized the troops. They sprayed her car and her body with bullets in a frenzy of shooting that continued even after she was dead.

    Together with Ashraf Idabis and Iyad Haddad – field-workers for the International Red Cross and the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem, respectively – we spent a few hours at the scene this week, taking testimonies from residents and passersby who witnessed the incident. The testimonies, which were given separately and were for the most part identical, raise two very disturbing questions: Why did Hammad keep driving after the police signaled her to stop? And why, since she was driving very slowly – about 20 kilometers an hour, according to all the eyewitnesses – without apparently intending to ram anyone, was she shot so many times, in what seems like an apoplexy of fury and craving to kill, including a “confirmation of kill” after the car had come to a stop. Is it possible that this woman, who hadn’t driven a car in over a year and was apparently rushing home to feed her baby, intended to perpetrate a ramming attack? Was killing her the only way to stop her?

    An acrid smell of tear gas was still hanging in the air in Silwad, even midweek. There are demonstrations here on Fridays, opposite Highway 60 and the settlement of Ofra, not far from where Hammad was killed. The street running perpendicular to the site is blocked by a mound of dirt and strewn with stones and the remains of scorched tires. Hammad did not take part in the demonstrations. She was a housewife and mother; her husband, Adib, works as an inspector for a construction company.

    December 25 started off as a routine day. The couple had breakfast together, after which Adib attended prayers in the mosque, followed by lunch. In the afternoon, Mahdia said she wanted to use the family car to visit her sister, Samira, who lives on the hill opposite Silwad, and bring her some firewood.

    According to Adib, his wife had a driver’s license but rarely used it and hadn’t driven for around a year, since the birth of their last child. Mahdia promised to be back quickly, before the baby woke from his sleep, in order to feed him.

    Now Adib is tormenting himself for having given her the car. He’s been left to take care of the children, along with their grandmother. Samira said afterward that her sister had been in such a hurry to get home that she didn’t even stay for coffee.

    At 4:20 P.M., Adib heard the sound of distant gunfire. Suddenly filled with foreboding, he rushed out to the street. He phoned his wife, but she didn’t answer. He called her sister, who told him Mahdia had left for home a few minutes earlier. Then came a call from their eldest, Zakariya, 20, who asked his father who had been driving the family car. When Adib told him that his mother had taken it, he heard cries of anguish on the other end of the line. Weeping and shouting, Zakariya told his father that he had seen the bullet-riddled car from a distance and knew it was theirs – and now came the appalling realization that his mother was in the vehicle.

    A relative, Yihyeh Mubarak, who lives in New Orleans, served in the U.S. Army in the Iraq war and returns to his hometown for a few months every year to work as a paramedic, immediately took Zakariya into his ambulance and gave him tranquilizers. Mubarak already knew Mahdia had been hurt badly, but the Border Policemen prevented him at gunpoint from approaching her car in order to take her to the hospital. He received her body, riddled with 17 bullets, that evening from the Civil Administration’s Beit El base – which was unusual, because Israel almost always delays the return of bodies of perpetrators of attacks – and took it to the hospital in Ramallah.

    Mubarak is on the verge of tears as he recounts the day’s events. Never, he declares, has he seen such violent behavior by soldiers and police in the territories as during the past few months.

    Back on the street of death, a mule is now tied up next to the spot from which the Border Policemen opened fire at Mahdia Hammad. She’d begun to drive up the street and in front of her a Mitsubishi jeep carrying construction workers who quickly turned around when they saw the Israeli troops ahead. They related that they had shouted to Mahdia to turn around, too, but she ignored them. Her window was closed and maybe she didn’t hear them. She went on driving.

    From a distance of dozens of meters, a Border Policeman signaled her with his hand to stop, but she continued on, slowly.

    The shooting started when she was some 20 to 30 meters from them. One witness said that a warning shot was fired into the air, but none of the others saw that. In any event, the volleys of rifle fire began immediately. According to one eyewitness, a policeman knelt on the ground and aimed his rifle at the car, while the others fired bursts of bullets. The testimonies indicate that there were about eight Border Policemen on the street. One person present related that he saw Mahdia raise her hand in the car, possibly to signal the policemen to stop shooting.

    When the car came to a halt, another policeman emerged from the perpendicular street, thrust his rifle into the bullet-riddled car and fired another volley into Mahdia’s head, even though she was certainly dead by then. The troops then took the car and the body away and prevented everyone, including the ambulance driver, from approaching.

    The Border Police spokesperson stated this week that its investigation revealed that, “the shooting took place during an attempt to run over Border Policemen involved in an operational action in Silwad. The terrorist, who saw that the forces were busy dispersing persons that were disturbing the peace, accelerated suddenly while swerving in their direction. The forces fired warning shots in the air but she kept moving toward them while accelerating her vehicle. The forces fired shots at the car to avoid being hit and immediately stopped firing when the danger had passed. The attempt to omit facts and twist the circumstances of the incident constitutes a futile effort to distort the truth.”

    What actually happened? Did Mahdia understand that she had to stop? Did she try unsuccessfully to brake? Was she really trying to run over the policemen? Her husband says she suffered from hearing problems. He says she was a bad driver, and finds it impossible to imagine that she intended to run over anyone. She loved her life, he says, and most of all she loved Yihyeh, their baby.

    The car has not yet been returned to him, nor has the computer that was in it, with all the construction plans he was working on.

    The widower asks quietly, “How was the story presented in Israel? Do the Israelis know what happened? Did the way Mahdia died lead to a public discussion?”

    We, of course, are ashamed to reply.

  • Israel Leaves 80 Children at Mercy of August Sun - Twilight Zone -
    In one of its more widespread acts of demolition, the Civil Administration last week left 127 men, women and children without shelter in 42-degree-Celsius heat.

    Gideon Levy and Alex Levac
    read more:

    Hudeifa crawls across the barren, rocky ground. She’s receding into the distance. Every so often, her father goes after her and brings her back to the only bit of shade in view, under the only tree in the area. Sometimes he even ties her leg to the tree trunk, to keep her from crawling away again.
    The 1-year-old baby is covered in dust from head to foot. She no longer has a home, a roof, not even a tent. Nor does her father, Ali Hussein Abdullah. Or any of the 24 members of her family, some of whom are also sheltering in the shade of the tree, along with chickens that survived the raid. They have nowhere else to go. Since personnel from the Civil Administration – Israel’s governing body in the West Bank – left their property in ruins last week, they no longer have a home, not even a tent, not even a water container. They sleep on this hard, rocky ground, under the tree.

  • Israel’s High Court is sponsoring anti-Palestinian discrimination - Opinion - - Haaretz Daily Newspaper | Israel News

    The High Court of Justice rejected a petition on Tuesday from the Palestinian village of Dirat-Rafiah, Rabbis for Human Rights and other organizations, which sought to restore authority over planning in the West Bank’s Area C to Palestinian councils, something that was revoked in 1971. At that time, local and district Palestinian planning councils, created by Jordanian law, were disbanded by the Israel Defense Forces, which created a special planning system for the Palestinians run by the Civil Administration.

    Despite being presented with studies showing the various methods in which planning policy in the West Bank negatively affects Palestinians and the development of their villages and towns – as opposed to Israeli settlements, which have a different system for planning – Justice Elyakim Rubinstein ruled that no information was presented indicating discrimination.

    This follows a previous ruling Rubinstein handed down last month, which stated there was no discrimination in evacuating the unrecognized Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran to make way for a Jewish settlement. Rubinstein justified that Supreme Court ruling by noting that Hiran will not be for Jews only but open to all.

    Denial of discrimination in both these cases reflects a narrow, extremely formalist position on equality. In adopting such a position, the courts have shirked their responsibility to guarantee equality for all – Jews and Palestinians alike.

    No less troubling is the High Court declaration that it must not intervene because of the political nature of the issue, and possible ramifications to the “sensitive relationship between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.” This ruling negates the court’s role in protecting human rights for all, including the Palestinian population in the occupied territories.

    This ruling also allows the High Court to refrain from safeguarding human rights at all in similar contexts. It joins previous cases in which the court used similar excuses in order to remain uninvolved – like the ruling on freedom of movement for Gaza residents, or the ruling allowing Israeli quarries to be built in the West Bank. This constitutes blatant disregard of the fact that under humanitarian and human rights law, the rights of civilians under military occupation are not limited, nor are they dependent on political concerns or agreements.

    The lack of proper planning for Palestinians in the West Bank leads to constant unauthorized construction, and the regular demolition of such structures. The Israeli government stubbornly ignores the fact that the Palestinians need a solution and cannot wait for a comprehensive agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, which is not on the horizon anyway. It is disappointing that the High Court has backed this abuse and perpetuates the current planning system, which does not favor the local population and flies in the face of the laws of occupation.

  • Soldiers expel 200 Palestinians from pool to allow settlers to bathe – Mondoweiss - June 10, 2015

    On 7 April 2015, during Passover holidays, a group of hundreds of settlers accompanied by Israeli security forces came to Birkat al-Karmil – a natural pool close to the village of al-Karmil, which lies in the southern Hebron Hills within Area A. In 2011, Yatta Municipality renovated the site, creating a park there and restoring an ancient pool at its center.

    B’Tselem’s investigation found that at about 2:00 P.M., hundreds of settlers arrived at the pool accompanied by dozens of soldiers, Border Police, and representatives of the Civil Administration (CA). The security forces ordered the Palestinian bathers to leave the pool and remain on the edge of the park. They allowed the settlers, however, free and exclusive use of the rest of the park. At about 5:30 P.M., the settlers and the security forces left the area.

  • Israeli colonialism, plain and simple
    In two court decisions involving shoving Palestinians off their land, Supreme Court justices have confirmed what Israel’s critics are saying: that Israel has been a colonialist entity since 1948.
    By Amira Hass | May 11, 2015 | Haaretz

    There is a straight line connecting the Palestinian village of Sussia in the southern West Bank and Atir/Umm al-Hiran, a Bedouin community in the Negev. This was highlighted last week by the justices of the Supreme Court. These are two communities of Palestinians that the Jewish state expelled from their homes and land decades ago, and whose families have lived ever since in “unrecognized” villages in shameful humanitarian conditions, forced on them by the Israeli government. One community settled on its agricultural land and the other in an area that the government moved them to during the early years of the state, when the Arabs citizens were under military rule.

    These are two Palestinian communities that Israel is depriving of their planning rights. Instead, it demands of them to crowd in the pales of settlement it has allotted to them, so Jews can fulfill and rejoice and thrive in their new and expanding suburban fantasies.

    The justices have allowed the state to demolish these two Palestinian communities, which are just 25 kilometers (15.5 miles) apart, but are separated by Israel’s 1967 border, the Green Line. On May 4, Justice Noam Sohlberg allowed the state, the Israel Defense Forces and the IDF Civil Administration to demolish Sussia’s tents, tin shacks and livestock pens as they see fit. The community petitioned against the Civil Administration’s decision to reject the master plan it had prepared, and what would be more natural than to stop home demolitions while the hearing of its case was still going on? But without a hearing, Sohlberg rejected the request filed by the community’s representatives – lawyers of Rabbis for Human Rights – for an interim injunction suspending implementation of demolition orders.

    The Civil Administration is demanding that the residents of Palestinian Sussia relocate close to the West Bank Palestinian town of Yata, purportedly for their own good. Yata is in Area A, an enclave under the control of the Palestinian Authority. In other words, the CA intends to squeeze Sussia in one of the West Bank’s Bantustans, as it does and intends to do with Bedouin and other Palestinians who live in Area C, under total Israeli control.

    In good faith?

    Next to the tin shacks of today’s Palestinian Sussia (after the army expelled the residents of their ancient village in 1986 and turned it into an archaeological site where Jews could celebrate), Jewish Susya now wallows in its greenery and abundance. After all, it has to grow and doesn’t want to see Arabs living in shacks and buying water at exorbitant prices from tanker trucks.

    Can a judge who permits demolition work to be carried out as an interim step then in good faith consider a petition challenging the residents’ final expulsion? And is it relevant that Sohlberg is a resident of a West Bank Jewish settlement?

    It is no more and no less relevant than the fact that the other justices of the Supreme Court and their families, and every other Jewish Israeli (including myself), are entitled at any time to move to a West Bank Jewish settlement, and that they – we – live on the Israeli side of the Green Line in manicured neighborhoods for Jews only and in some instances on land from which Palestinians were expelled 65 years ago or yesterday.

    On May 5, two other Supreme Court justices, Elyakim Rubinstein and Neal Hendel, allowed the authorities to demolish the unrecognized village of Atir/Umm al-Hiran. In the face of opposition from their fellow justice, Daphne Barak-Erez, they dismissed a petition filed by the Adalah Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel that challenged the state’s decision to expel the residents for a second time, from the location to which they were expelled in the 1950s. Go to Hura, the state tells them, and the justices agree – to that Bedouin township that, like similar townships, was designated to condense Bedouins after their primary expulsion from their land. After all, how can we set up expansive farms for Jews and build pioneering communities such as Hiran if we recognize the Bedouin as citizens with rights, history and heritage?

    The honorable justices were ingratiating Habayit Hayehudi even before this party was selected as the fox that guards the hen-house – through its appointment of Uri Ariel as the agriculture minister (who is in also in charge of Bedouin affairs) and Eli Ben-Dahan as a deputy defense minister responsible for the Civil Administration (which carries out the expulsion of Palestinians and the settlement of Jews in the West Bank). Don’t worry, you folks at the Jewish Home, we support the right of Jews to disposes Palestinians in Area C and the Negev, so say the judges. We, like you, are in favor of crowding the Arabs into Bantustans.

    Even before the Supreme Court justices knew that Ayelet Shaked (Habayit Hayehudi) would be the next justice minister, even before they knew that her mentor, party leader Naftali Bennett, would be entrusted with the education of our children as education minister, they were telling us in a loud voice that the justices’ reputation was not what people feared, that the right wing has unjustly portrayed them as a monster seeking equality and justice. The justices had proven that their image as defenders of human rights, even if those humans were Palestinians or left-wing, had been totally twisted.

    Just weeks before, on April 15, they had enthusiastically embraced the Boycott Law. That’s the law through which the right wing is threatening with financial penalties left-wing Israeli dissidents who publicly support sanctions on Israel and a boycott of its institutions and settlement products, as part of the struggle against institutionalized inequality and discrimination.

    That very day, the justices endorsed the law that permits Israel to rob land owned by residents of Bethlehem, Beit Sahur, Beit Jala and Abu Dis. The land is where it has always been since before it was annexed to Israeli-ruled Jerusalem. Its owners remain living where they always did – a few kilometers away from their private land. But now the state declares them “absentees”: beyond the separation barrier.

    The justices dismissed the petition challenging the application of the Absentee Property Law in their case, thus continuing the tradition from the 1950s. That is when we coined the oxymoron “present absentees” in order to facilitate the demolition of villages and robbery of land of Palestinians that remained, those that we failed to expel.

    In the justices’ consent to the demolition of Sussia and Umm al-Hiran, they have drawn a direct line linking 1948 to today. They have confirmed what Israel’s most virulent critics say about the country – that it is a colonialist, dispossessing entity. The justices have parroted what the state has been screaming all along: It’s my right to dispossess, my right to expel, my right to demolish and crowd people into pens. I have demolished and will continue to do so. I have expelled and will continue to expel. I have crowded people in and will continue to do so. I never gave a damn and never will do.